Engine Oils Continue to Advance


Engine Oils

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Engine Oils

On May 1, 2020, API officially began licensing gasoline-engine oils to ILSAC-GF-6A and ILSAC-6B and API SP engine oil performance standards. These specifications were designed to provide protection against low-speed pre-ignition (LSPI), timing chain wear protection, improved fuel economy and high temperature deposit protection for pistons and turbochargers, and more stringent sludge and varnish control. Since that time, API has licensed engine oils meeting the new ILSAC standards for companies in 35 countries around the world, including Brazil. To date, nearly 4,000 ILSAC GF-6A products and over 200 ILSAC GF-6B products have been licensed by these companies.

On May 1, 2021, the ILSAC GF-5 specification officially became obsolete and oils formerly licensed and formulated to meet ILSAC GF-5 are no longer eligible to display the API Certification Mark “Starburst”. That will be reserved solely for ILSAC GF-6A oils which are backward compatible to ILSAC GF-5 and earlier performance recommendations. The American Petroleum Institute (API) is recommending to shops that they now only carry only ILSAC GF-6 motor oils. This will enable them to consolidate the number of oils they carry in their shop and ensure that the most advanced oils are poured in engines. We anticipate that more GF-6A and GF-6B oils will be licensed this year, especially now that the ILSAC GF-5 standard is obsolete.

The ILSAC GF-6B specification is for OW-16 oils only and represents even lower SAE viscosity oils. The new API Certification “Shield” brand was introduced to eliminate consumer confusion and misconceptions regarding these oils. They are retrospectively compatible only with OW-16 API SN Resource Conserving engine oils, which are currently recommended by vehicle manufacturers for use in some newer vehicles. However, the trend towards low viscosity oils is here to stay and these are expected to become prevalent in the future.

Finally, the complementary API SP specification was also introduced at the same time and oils that meet API SP performance are retrospectively compatible with API SN or earlier oils. It is important to note that API SP oils meet the requirements where SN PLUS oil is recommended. In fact, all oils licensed to display the API Service Symbol “Donut” are automatically licensed to display SN PLUS at the bottom of the “Donut”, but merchants reserve the right to choose not to display it.

Ensuring Quality Oil in the Marketplace

The API Aftermarket Audit Program (AMAP) is making API SP and ILSAC GF-6A and GF-6B engine oils a focus for testing in 2021 to ensure that products licensed against the new standards are compliant with the rigorous specifications required for use in today’s gasoline engines. The goal is to test up to 1,300 packaged and bulk engine oil samples this year from around the world. Oils for gasoline-powered engines will account for about 60 percent of tests and oils for diesel-powered engines will account for about 40 percent of tests in 2021. Diesel exhaust fluid samples will also be tested as part of the AMAP program with about 500 samples expected.

AMAP oversees sampling of API-licensed oils in the marketplace and tests them to verify compliance with the engine oil specifications. This ensures oil marketers, distributors, installers and consumers that they can have confidence in the quality of API-licensed motor oils in the marketplace.

How AMAP Works

PI-licensed engine oils are purchased in the marketplace and tested to determine their physical, chemical, and performance properties. The results are compared to licensee formulations on file at API. Bulk oils are also tested. Conforming oils show test results that are consistent with the formulations on-file and meet program requirements. All samples undergo elemental analysis, viscosity at 100°C, high-temperature/high-shear testing, cold cranking, pumpability, volatility. The oils may also be tested for foaming, shear stability and oxidation, among others. Product packages are inspected to make sure they correctly display the API Marks, comply with licensing requirements and carry product traceability codes. If a licensed oil does not match the physical and chemical data on file with API, API will work with the licensee to evaluate the nonconformity and take appropriate corrective action.

Read the rest of the article in the magazine LUBES EM FOCO – issue 82, presented below:

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